Finish reading this article and I will convince you that you will live a longer, healthier life if you follow the details in this post. Grow your own right at home and you will agree it was the best decision you ever made. 

Before I go on, let me introduce myself so that you understand I have some authority on this subject.  I am a horticulturalist, and owned a plant nursery for over 15 years. We also operated a market stall selling plants to Melbournians for a similar length of time. My speciality was, vines, fruit trees, and vegetables.

Before moving to Melbourne, I had spent my formative years growing up in a farm where we grew and harvested just about everything we ate. After moving to Melbourne and buying fruit and vegetables  from stores, I realised just how ripped of consumers in cities really were. I felt sorry for all those people who bought and ate bland strawberries, tomatoes, fruit that tasted sour and had little to no fragrance whatsoever. Since then I have been advocating for people to grow their own right at home.

Before you finish reading this post, I will have you itching to get out in the garden and cultivate a garden patch.  And when you do, in three months time, you will discover that it is the best thing you ever did in your life! Here are just some reasons why:

• The exercise and the fact that you are outdoors doing something will give you positive vibes and boost your physical and psychological health. Farming and agriculture is in our genes, our DNA,  and has been part of our earliest civilisations world wide. It’s a major part of how we survived.

• The world is changing fast and even a fool can predict serious food shortages in the future. It’s great to feel optimistic, but with the COVID-19 situation, one also has to be realistic and prepare for the worst; The quicker you prepare your own garden and plan to grow what you eat, the better off you will be.

So why should you grow your own right at home?

  • You Own It. It’s all yours
  • It’s fresher and chemical free
  • No one else has handled it except you and your family
  • You will save a fortune in food shopping
  • Less reasons to take risks leaving home in search of food
  • You and your family will finally taste fruit and vegetables that have ripened on the plant.

So where do you start?

At the time I am posting this article, it is July. So in Australia it is mid-winter. This is the best time to prepare and cultivate garden beds in preparation for the coming warmer months. Soon the days get longer and warmer and plants start waking up. Seeds germinate, fruit trees bud and bloom, and the world wakes up to spring. So the hard work begins now.

  1. To begin with, allocate a garden bed area and either dig it up the hard way with a shovel and fork, or run a rotary hoe through it. Make sure to get rid of any weeds. Weeds will compete for nutrients and usually win. The deeper you can go the better. Give those roots freedom. Hard, congested soil restricts growth.
  2. If your soil is clay based, then add gypsum,.  A few metres of 3 way garden mix delivered by truck or trailer would not hurt either. Rake it all through and level it up.
  3. Any composted material such as old lawn clippings, manure or fertiliser will be a bonus now. Mix that in and let the nature take its course. By spring your soil should be enriched enough to let those plants go boom!
  4. Okay, so now you can form furrows. The high mounds are where you will be eventually be planting your selection of seedlings, while the long trenches are ideal for traffic during the growing and harvesting periods, and also for pooling precious water during the hot summer. Plants don’t like to have their roots trampled, so building mounds and trenches is the best idea. Walk and do your gardening work from the trenches, while the mounds remain untrodden.

Remember, the more friable the soil the better your plants will grow. Friable soil means that the soil is loose and crumbly, not heavy, clumpy and in big rock like clods. During the beginning of Spring, around September, you can begin to plant your first crops. It’s best to avoid frost sensitive plants, as these probably won’t last. I will be posting other articles showing you what’s what and what to plant when. This article will deal with cultivation. Your feedback will definitely encourage me to give you more information and post more articles. My articles will usually be orientated around Melbourne climate and conditions.

I want to  elaborate on this one more time. The fruit and vegetables you grow will taste like no other. That is because you will generally harvest your produce when it ripens. Store bought produce is nearly always semi-ripened, or unripe before it’s harvested to extend shelf life for businesses. This means that fruit and vegetables never mature enough to exude their magical and individual fragrances, nor taste as rich as they should. The texture is also far from satisfactory. For example, a strawberry should melt in your mouth and release that wonderful strawberry scent, and tantalise your taste buds with flavour. They should never be bland, crunchy, and with no aroma to speak of. It’s nearly a crime that kids have to grow up eating fruit and vegetables that are so neutral that cardboard cutouts would be a better substitute.

I am always happy to answer specific, garden related questions. Please leave query and I will get back to you ASAP.

 

 

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